Joe Malinconico Paterson Press
The Paterson Planning Board this week approved construction of a 56-unit apartment building on Barclay Street near St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, the first project in a state effort to provide housing for people with special needs near hospitals.
Ten of the apartments would be reserved for “special needs” tenants, a group that may include people with mental or behavioral health problems as well domestic violence victims and families with children with physical or developmental disabilities, hospital officials said.
St. Joseph’s Vice President Kenneth Morris, a former city councilman, said the housing is geared toward “vulnerable populations” who he said tend to be “frequent users of hospital services.” Morris said the special needs tenants will be provided optional social services at the housing complex.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver came to Paterson in July 2019 to announce the plans under the state’s “Hospital Housing Partnership Program.” The New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), a Paterson-based non-profit group, and the Newark-based Community Asset Preservation Corporation are working with St. Joseph’s on the $20.3 million project.
The partners plan to ask the City Council for a tax abatement later this month, officials said. Mayor Andre Sayegh is supporting the project, saying it will provide “Patersonians with a much-needed affordable housing option.”
St. Joseph’s is providing the land for the project as well as another $4.5 million, according to members of the development team. Other funding will come through a mortgage, tax credits and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
The state financing agency has appropriated $30 million for the Paterson building and two other hospital-housing projects in New Jersey, said Chief of Staff, Katherine Brennan. The St. Joseph’s development was the first to get state approval and has progressed the furthest, she said.
Bob Guarasci, executive director of the NJCDC, said he expects construction to start in March, with the work taking about 14 months.